nmg: (Default)

...cats, bears, wolves and monkeys playing Uno.

(Wolfie has just played a blue 1, and play is passing clockwise; Brown Bear is therefore just about to win. Cat has managed to stitch Monk up something rotten with a few well-placed +4s, and has left him with a hand worth upwards of 120)

The [livejournal.com profile] garklet keeps asking what Cat and Monk get up to while he's at nursery, and we've started to stage vignettes to indulge him and amuse ourselves.

nmg: (Default)

Last Friday, [livejournal.com profile] ias reminded me that a) it had been a very long time since I'd made bread and that b) the nursery's attempt to get the kids to make bread last week had ended in abject failure, so I might as well enlist the [livejournal.com profile] garklet's help when I made bread at the weekend.

I like making bread, but it is time-consuming. Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery has been one of my favourite cookery books (along with Jane Grigson's English Food, Diana Kennedy's Art of Mexican Cookery and the first Moro cookbook) ever since the mother-in-law gave me her copy, and I've had success with David's instructions for a tinless Coburg loaf every time.

At Easter, we spent a week in Malta, and my abiding memory of that week is the bread. Maltese bread is a thing to behold: flavoursome and well-textured sourdough. I can offer a pair of anecdotes that explain how seriously the Maltese take their bread:

  • Malta was briefly occupied by Napoleon's forces from 1798 to 1800 (the end of this period marks the start of Malta's status as a British dominion). Napoleon's soldiers decided that they didn't like the local bread, and so imported their own flour to make proper French bread. To this day, the Maltese refer to cheap white Chorleywood process bread as "French bread".
  • During the Siege of Malta in WWII, many Maltese men were conscripted. However, not only were bakers a reserved occupation, but also bread-sellers; bread was considered vital for morale.

I picked up a copy of Anne and Helen Caruana Galizia's Food and Cookery of Malta (on the strength of a quote by Elizabeth David on the back cover, and after a conversation with the Vallettan bookseller in which she tried to persuade me to buy the glossy illustrated books and not the book "for chefs"), which spends a chapter on bread.

So, on Saturday I made a Coburg loaf with the young lad and started on a Maltese loaf. The process for the Maltese loaf is unlike anything I've tried before, and certainly takes much longer: you start with a basic dough, knead and let it prove for six hours or longer, add extra flour and sufficient water to turn it into a very soft dough, knead and let it prove for another six hours, then dissolve the dough in water, add extra yeast and flour, knead and prove for another three hours, shape into a loaf before a final prove, then bake. I finished the loaf this evening.

I can't say that I'll use this method every time, but the results are quite astonishingly good (albeit not quite up to the work of Maltese professionals), and I'll do this again in the future.

nmg: (Default)

Bumped into [livejournal.com profile] hobbitdave while waiting for the bus with [livejournal.com profile] ias and the [livejournal.com profile] garklet after work today. Cue the following conversation after Dave left:

[livejournal.com profile] garklet
Why that [livejournal.com profile] hobbitdave?
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
Well, that's his name.
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
Where is [livejournal.com profile] hobbitdave going?
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
He's on his way home to see [livejournal.com profile] gnommi.
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
Why?
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
Because he's [livejournal.com profile] gnommi's boyfriend!
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
Why he [livejournal.com profile] gnommi's boyfriend?
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
Because they like each other a lot. That's why they live together.
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
*nods sagely*
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
I think they need a boy.
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
Pardon?
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
I think they need a boy.
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
What kind of boy? A little boy, like you?
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
Yes. They need a little boy like me.
nmg: (Default)

An account of a conversation while waiting at bus stop with [livejournal.com profile] ias and the [livejournal.com profile] garklet:

[livejournal.com profile] garklet
My1 like coiley-wotey.
[livejournal.com profile] ias
What's coiley-wotey?
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
Coiley-wotey!
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
Colley Wotty?
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
Coiley-wotey!
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
What sort of a thing is coiley-wotey!
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
*pause* Coiley-wotey!
[livejournal.com profile] ias
He's making this word up.
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
Are you making this word up? Is this another silly word?
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
No, coiley-wotey!
[livejournal.com profile] ias
How big is coiley-wotey?
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
*looks confused*
[livejournal.com profile] ias
Is coiley-wotey big or small?
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
Coiley-wotey!
[livejournal.com profile] ias
He's just saying that! Stop saying that!
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
*has flash of inspiration* What colour is coiley-wotey?
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
Grey.
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
*thinks* What sort of animal is coiley-wotey?
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
He a woof, chase roadroader. Roadroader goes beep-beep!
[livejournal.com profile] ias
Aha! He's a wolf! You're talking about Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner, aren't you?
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
Yes, my like coiley-wotey.
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
That's Wile. E. Coyote. Can you say it after me? Wile E.
[livejournal.com profile] garklet
Coiley-wotey.
[livejournal.com profile] nmg
*sighs*

1. This is a persistent verbal tic that he's had for the last six months. My, how we've tried to cure him of it.

nmg: (Default)

Soon after the [livejournal.com profile] garklet was born, a little over three years ago, [livejournal.com profile] ias sent me out with a shopping list, as follows:

  • Lansinoh
  • Cotton wool

I decided to get these from the big John Lewis in town, on the ostensible grounds that it was marginally closer to the car park than Boots. This also meant that I could browse the AV department. One thing lead to another, and I ended up leaving with the following items:

  • Lansinoh
  • Cotton wool
  • A Humax 9200-T PVR

Apart from making a shopping basket that clearly shouts "new dad" (nipple cream + superfluous technology), the PVR has been a godsend, not least because we've been able to pause live TV when putting the [livejournal.com profile] garklet to bed. The [livejournal.com profile] garklet clearly now assumes that a) you can pause live TV, b) you can rewind live TV, and c) you can watch Chuggington at any time. When he's older, he'll probably disbelieve me when I tell about the days when there were only three channels. Maybe I should hang on to my nan's old channel-preset-less black and white portable?

Unfortunately, it's been starting to look a little tired. We'd missed the over-the-air updates to the PVR's software, so we don't have any nifty features like series link. It's also a royal pain to get data off the PVR; you can plug in a USB cable, but it perversely refuses to mount as a mass storage device, and the necessary client software is Windows-only, and both sluggish and error-prone. Most seriously, it has started to crash every couple of days, so there's no guarantee that recordings will actually happen.

I'd been eyeing up its successor, the 9300-T, on the grounds that a) it had an HDMI output (no more fuzzy SCART on the 1080p flatscreen) and b) it had a larger disc. [livejournal.com profile] ias expressed a few reservations, so I'd also looked at other devices (the Topfield PVR, for example).

[livejournal.com profile] julesfm pointed out that there was a third route, namely a tuner in a desktop computer. After playing with his EyeTV for a bit, I took the plunge with an EyeTV Diversity on a Mac Mini Server (lovely machine - 2.56GHz dual core with 2x500Gb discs and 4Gb RAM). This also has given us a DVD playing solution - something we've been missing since a Certain Toddler lost the remote for our DVD player.

So far, our experience has been pretty good (pattern-matching recording schedules are ace), but there have been a couple of hiccoughs which are probably worth documenting:

  • EyeTV Remote. While EyeTV 3 has a reasonable ten foot interface, it seems a bit overkill to rely on a wireless keyboard and mouse to change channels on the TV. EyeTV comes with a fairly ugly but serviceable remote. What they don't make clear is that this doesn't speak to the Mac Mini, but to the IR receiver on the EyeTV tuner itself. Which is plugged into a USB port on the back of the Mac Mini. While I could stick it on a USB cable and have it draped over the front of the Mac Mini (Jules recommended cable ties), this offended my aesthetic sense.
  • Apple Remote on Snow Leopard. In theory, you can also control EyeTV 3 using the standard Apple Remote (and who doesn't have three or four of these kicking about?) Unfortunately, Apple managed to break the Apple Remote for third party applications under Snow Leopard. There are a couple of workarounds, most notably those produced by IOSpirit: RemoteBuddy and Candelair. I've been using the former, having first tried the latter. Both worked well, but I was persuaded by the extra functionality of RemoteBuddy (namely the iPhone AJAX interface).
  • No MHEG-5 support. This is a bit of a pain. MHEG-5 probably means nothing to most of you, but you've probably all come across the 'red button' services on Freeview; MHEG-5 is the data format that drives these services. Unfortunately, Elgato (the manufacturers of EyeTV) regard this as a legacy format, and have shown little interest in supporting it.
  • No audio over HDMI. Again, this is a bit of a pain. The Mac Mini has both Mini-DVI and Apple Mini Display Port sockets, and you can get dongles for both to convert them to HDMI. Unfortunately, these only convert the picture, and not the sound. We've currently got the Mac Mini hooked up to the hifi on the grounds that I didn't want to run yet another cable to the TV (the Mini has digital optical out, so I could have plugged that directly into the TV had I the right cable, but still - two cables). The Apple Store in town were pretty useless, but I did find that Kanex are selling MDP to HDMI adapters with audio. They're out of stock on the digital optical adapter, but I've ordered the USB audio adapter and should hopefully find out how well it works before Christmas.

All in all, it seems pretty solid, but the hammering it'll get over Christmas will be the real test.

nmg: (Default)

Very clear sky tonight, so have actually managed to see the Geminids despite the skyglow and the floodlights in one of our neighbour's gardens. A couple of very bright meteors and about another four or five lesser ones, all in ten minutes or so. If you have a clear sky where you are, now would be a good time to step outside for a quarter of an hour - look to the east.

Briefly contemplated waking the [livejournal.com profile] garklet up to show him the best sky that he's yet had an opportunity to see in Southampton, but thought better of it. I'll just have to point Jupiter out to him on the way home (and try and explain the phases of the moon) as usual.

nmg: (Default)

Young [livejournal.com profile] ias has used up about two minutes of her fifteen minutes of fame, talking about laundry (and being tumble dryer-free) on today's Women's Hour. You can heard her here (for the next seven days). The laundry segment starts at 31:00, and she's on first (and third).

nmg: (Default)

Since we had our loft boarded and smartened up a few years back, we've been merrily using it to store away the things that we don't need from day to day, or which don't belong in the library. Unfortunately, it's starting to get a bit full in there (what with [livejournal.com profile] ias's sewing stuff, my tools, Xmas decorations, the [livejournal.com profile] garklet's baby clothes, our suitcases, and so on), so we've been planning on putting some of Mr Kamprad's fine modular shelving solutions up there (specifically the GORM range).

Now, I could just have gone up there with a tape measure and an old envelope to note down how many of each item we needed, but the space is confined enough (and our need for storage great enough) that I am going to have to cut shelves down to fit. Version 1 of the plan was on the back of an envelope, but didn't have accurate measurements. Version 2 was in Illustrator - great for the plan view, not so good for working out whether it will all fit under the roof.

Version 3 is in Google SketchUp, complete with models of the shelves (rather than just bounding boxes). Fortunately, I stopped short of modelling everything in the loft so that I could plan how to fit things on the shelves.

In other news, we took the [livejournal.com profile] garklet to the cinema this morning - Harbour Lights (and some other cinemas in the Picture House chain) are screening episodes of In the Night Garden to get the little ones used to sitting quietly in a darkened room. He liked it greatly, and was so well-behaved that I'm toying with the idea of taking him to see Up.

Finally, I've also managed to get around to reading Brundibar to the lad - a Sendak-illustrated version of the Czech children's opera that was first performed in Theresienstadt in 1943. The story itself is charming, but Sendak's illustrations add another layer on top of this (Brundibar is pictured with a toothbrush moustache and side parting, for example) which make this more than just a children's book. I'm still quite surprised that Portswood library had a copy. Highly recommended.

nmg: (Default)

The [livejournal.com profile] garklet is running around naked after his bath. I'm playing him some music to dance to. On the grounds that he likes the KLF remixes of the Doctor Who theme, I played him some Vangelis, and then some Jean Michel Jarre.

He's now running around wrapped in bubble wrap shouting "like a robot!"

nmg: (Default)

A good weekend last weekend - up to Staffs for Oatley minor's naming, with an overnight stay in Leamington (at the Angel Hotel) en route. Some follow-on notes from conversations:

For [livejournal.com profile] ngma: the best source for non-pink girl's clothes (and non-blue boy's clothes) that we've found is Vertbaudet. French, as you might expect from the name.

For [livejournal.com profile] ruthj and [livejournal.com profile] jow_n_chris, the iPhone/iPod Touch ebook app was Stanza. The iPod Touch and the Sony PRS-505 are comparable in price: £165/£214/£283 for 8Gb/16Gb/32Gb iPod Touch vs. £199 for the PRS-505 (256Mb internal, expandable via SD cards). Battery life on the PRS-505 is excellent (Sony claim 6000+ page turns, which I suspect is optimistic), whereas the iPod lasts about a day of solid reading. On the other hand, the iPod does more than read ebooks. Both support EPUB format ebooks (which is what Waterstones sell), although the implementation on the PRS-505 isn't great (for example, only a partial implementation of CSS2, significantly below that required by the OPS component of the EPUB spec). Sony's support for the PRS-505 isn't great; there has been one firmware update to date in the US which introduced EPUB support (the UK version has always had support for EPUB).

A summary:

PRS-505iPod Touch/iPhone + Stanza
Price£199£165 (8Gb)
£214 (16Gb)
£283 (32Gb)
Battery life6000+ page turns (over a week in standby)~1 day
Display6" diagonal
600x800
3 bit grayscale eInk
3.5" diagonal
480x320
colour LCD
Daylight visibilityExcellentGood
Night visibilityNone (no backlight)Good
Page turn speed~0.5sInstant
Prerender speed10-15s2-3s
Internal Memory256Mb8Gb/16Gb/32Gb
Additional MemorySD cardNone
ePub supportPartialGood
MP3 playbackYes (but hampered by limited memory and poor battery life)Yes
User InterfacePhysical buttons (PRS-700 has touch screen)Multitouch screen
Aspect switchYes (but hampered by physical UI)Yes (via accelerometer)
EBook UploadSony software (Windows only)
Calibre (multiplatform)
Stanza desktop (Mac only)
Calibre (multiplatform)
Download over wifi
Application supportNoYes
Software updateInfrequentFrequent

My feeling is that the iPod Touch has the edge in terms of usability and readability (the page turn speed on the PRS-505 is still a limitation), although the PRS-505's display is very legible. Having used both for at least a couple of weeks, I'd recommend the iPod Touch/iPhone + Stanza more strongly.

nmg: (Default)

For those that haven't met him, the [livejournal.com profile] garklet has a bit of a thing for aeroplanes. This really became apparent about a year ago; I read him Sadie the Airmail Pilot every night for at least a month, and he was fascinated by the aircraft flying into Southampton Airport (we're less than a kilometre south of the perimeter, and probably less than 200m west of the southern approach flight path).

Last summer, we met up with my uncle and aunt at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway (they had a 1940s weekend) and [livejournal.com profile] ias ended up buying him a selection of planes, mostly WWII fighters. She was under my vague instructions (I had thoughts of making him a mobile), but most of the aircraft have ended up going into his toy box. He has a very chipped (and badly modelled) diecast Spitfire, and a number of cheap polystyrene gliders. There were two planes that we didn't give him, on the grounds that they were too nice. One was a Spitfire kit (that I've yet to assemble), and the other was a Corgi diecast of a Mk.IIc Hurricane, from their Battle of Britain Memorial Flight range. He found the latter last week (I was tidying up a shelf, and it was in the pile off stuff that I'd taken down) and has barely let it out of his sight since.

You can see where this is going, can't you?

Thanks to our location, we get a lot of interesting things going over, from the Red Arrows to a B1-B Lancer. I've seen the BoBMF quite a few times (four? five?), so they're no longer quite as much of a gosh-wow as the first time, even though they still are rather cool. Tonight, we had a Spitfire (a photo-reconnaissance job) and a Hurricane en route to a flypast at Shrivenham.

The [livejournal.com profile] garklet hadn't quite connected the special planes with his toy planes, although he does recognise the replica on the airport roundabout as a Spitfire (I haven't yet explained that it's a replica of K5054, the prototype aircraft which flew from the then-named Eastleigh Aerodrome).

He's now seen 'his plane' (or to be more precise, LF363 wearing the colours of YB-W - his plane is a model of this with remarkably accurate markings). He's one happy little boy, and I'm going to have difficulties getting him to bed tonight.

nmg: (cocktail)

Another Sunday brunch today, this time for my PhD (and EngD) students. It was great to finally get them all over, although I note that they're a far more abstemious bunch than the usual suspects - we practically had to beg them to drink the margaritas I had on ice!

Menu was as follows (mostly for my benefit):

  • Fruit platter - pineapple and papaya, dressed with lime and cayenne
  • Huevos revueltos with chorizo
  • Guacamole
  • Frijoles
  • Salsa Pica de Gallo
  • (sour cream, crumbled Wensleydale, spring onions)
  • Tortillas and bread rolls (the latter for molletes)
  • Sopapillos (or bunuelos - I can't work out which is the correct term for fried wheat tortillas dredged with cinnamon sugar)
  • Cafe en Olla
  • Choice of cocktails, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic: Margarita, Bloody Mary/Maria, Bucks Fizz, Tequila Sunrise, Virgin Mary, Virgin Sunrise

Next time, we might try a New York bagel brunch; sadly, there are several people who dislike fish, which rules out an Edwardian brunch with kedgeree or kippers.

nmg: (Default)

A bit of a life roundup for the past week. First off, the cat. She might have stayed around for an extra day, but she buggered off the following day. I suspect that it was the move from luxury single sachet cat food to multipack Waitrose own-brand cat food that did it. The [livejournal.com profile] garklet seems to have taken it well, and has accepted the explanation that "she's gone back to her family" (which in all truth is the most likely outcome), and hasn't settled for "she was driven away by next door's army, and is now cowering under a bush with tiny, frozen paws, etc". He still asks after her most days ("gat? ee-ow?"), which is very sweet.

The big event in the young lad's life is that he turned two on Sunday. [livejournal.com profile] ias has said more about this, so suffice to say that he ate too much cake and ice cream, and really enjoyed playing with my sister.

He then promptly came down with a stinking cold (proper 40-a-day cough), and had to be taken out of nursery early on Monday. We then promptly came down with it - I took yesterday off, and [livejournal.com profile] ias probably should also have done so. We've both been off today, and our likely disposition tomorrow is an open question.

In the past, we've both complained about our poor timing when ill; when you want a good black and white film on daytime TV, there are none to be found. Fortunately, things have been rather better this time. So far I've watched (or napped through) the following:

  • Threads: I didn't see this when it was first broadcast (although I do remember the cover of Radio Times), so I was rather grateful when [livejournal.com profile] ias's parents bought me the DVD for my birthday. It sounds rather daft, but I wasn't prepared for just how bleak it would be - and I'd been prepared for an awful lot. Had to pause for ten minutes in the last third and go and do something else instead. I'm very glad that I've seen it, and I'm not sure that I want to watch it again in the foreseeable future. After this, I decided that both of my choices for the next film to watch (Grave of the Fireflies, and Edge of Darkness) were probably a bit too much, so instead I watched...
  • Ratatouille: My sister bought this for the [livejournal.com profile] garklet, so I thought that I ought to review it before subjecting him to it. Still a bit old for him, but he should enjoy it when he's a year or so older. Generally charming, with some lovely sequences, but I felt that the critic's Proustian moment should have been properly Proustian (with a petite madeleine and a cup of tea). Whoever heard of someone going dreamy-eyed over ratatouille? But I digress.
  • Next on the list were the final two episodes of Band of Brothers. I've been watching these as BBC2 show them, and have rather enjoyed them. Yes, it's a military soap (as a yoof, I was hooked on Tour of Duty), but it works well, mainly because of the talking head interviews with the veterans of E Coy (most of whom appear as characters in the series). The impression I have is that it's fairly historically accurate, and the series certainly deserves all of the plaudits that have been heaped on it.
  • Today's treat was not just a black and white film, but one that made my top of one of my Top Five lists: Went the Day Well. Still a cracking film, and an interesting contrast to Band of Brothers.

Also seen on Monday was Pom Poko, a Ghibli film about tanuki (Japanese raccoons). Rather fun, although the dubbing was rather coy at times; the tanuki's oversized testicles were referred to as a "raccoon pouch".

Cat update

Dec. 4th, 2008 03:31 pm
nmg: (Default)

Well, she isn't tagged, nor is she pregnant. I also assume that she doesn't have anything obviously wrong with her, otherwise the vet nurse would probably have mentioned it (even though we didn't have a full MOT).

So, step two is to stick posters around the local area and wait. If that doesn't work, we might have to look at a) adopting her, b) naming her, and c) working out where we can put a cat flap (it's not looking good at the moment).

nmg: (Default)

We appear to have acquired a cat:

We passed her on Brookside Way, and she followed us home. She then hung around outside for another half hour, and was looking quite lost ([livejournal.com profile] ias found her when she went outside to get some thyme).

The [livejournal.com profile] garklet seems a little unsure as to what to make of her; he's currently stroking her gently, but he was telling the cat to 'go' earlier. He at least now seems confident that she won't play with his train (although he's quite keen to demonstrate it to her).

I've been on a quick trip to the shops to get some catfood. We'll keep her in the kitchen overnight (with the window open), and put up 'found' posters tomorrow if she hasn't left. She seems in good shape; her coat is in good condition, she has no injuries, she seems free of fleas, and she seems a reasonable weight, but she's doesn't have a collar. She also smells faintly of cigarette smoke, so she's been living around people.

nmg: (Default)

So, time's winged chariot duly rumbled past last Wednesday and added another year to my age, putting me indisputably past the halfway mark of my three score and ten. [livejournal.com profile] ias and I took the day off, having left the [livejournal.com profile] garklet in the nursery, and we went out! And saw a film! In a cinema! Without the [livejournal.com profile] garklet! Like real people!

We ended up going to the Harbour Lights to see Quantum of Solace, mainly because it meant we'd have a fighting chance of staying awake; the [livejournal.com profile] garklet had been pretty unsettled the night before, so we were in need of sleep. Not bad overall, even if it should really have been titled Casino Royale, part two. Still like Craig as Bond, though. This may be TMI, but I had to nip to the gents halfway through. Apparently, turning thirty-six has meant that my bladder can no longer hold the metabolic by-products of a pint of Hoegaarden for longer than half an hour. Thus begins the long, slow slide to senescence.

Picked the lad up after the film, fed him and waited for our babysitter. Not only had we gone to the cinema (!), but we were also going out to a restaurant sans-[livejournal.com profile] garklet. Had a few complaints from him on the grounds that I wasn't following the bedtime script to the letter, but he went down without too much wailing, and slept soundly from then on.

We'd decided to go to Zen (japanese place that [livejournal.com profile] theno23 had recommended in the past). Wednesday night was all-you-can-eat night, but this was cooked to order rather than steam table dross. Food generally good, though it stuck to the safe favourites. By this point, we were feeling rather shattered, and lapsed into blank-eyed silence. A good night out, nonetheless.

Part two of the birthday bits was today, with a selection of the usual sorts descending on us for Sunday brunch. Cooked Mexican, just as last year, but scaled down both the variety and the quantities, as follows:

  • Huevos Revueltos con Chorizo
  • Frijoles
  • Salsa Verde
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Tortillas

We still had food left over (mainly guacamole, since I'd not been able to pass up the chance to buy ripe Hass avocados at three for GBP1), but of manageable proportions. We also had a large platter of fruit (principally pineapple, papaya and lime), cocktails (pisco sours, tequila sunrises, bloody marys) and a regularly replenished supply of cafe de olla. I'll certainly make the cafe de olla again. Best of all, we managed to keep the [livejournal.com profile] garklet away from the egg.

We really ought to hold brunches at ours more often...

nmg: (Default)

The Red Arrows flying low over your house in formation, en route to Cowes. And I do mean over, near enough (maybe displaced 30m to the east at most).

Still not quite as cool as the time a B1B Lancer flew low over the house, though; nine Hawks are nowhere near as loud as one Lancer.

nmg: (Default)

Got back last Friday from a week's holiday in South Wales with the usual ex-Warwick suspects. Total head count this year was twenty-five adults, by my reckoning, with a further eight little ones. The [livejournal.com profile] garklet was the only small boy amongst the kids; hopefully either [livejournal.com profile] ruthj and [livejournal.com profile] hsw will produce another boy, otherwise it's going to be him versus the monstrous regiment of women. Anyway, he enjoyed charging around with the elder girls (Lottie, Thea and the twins), even if it was a little trying on the eardrums of the rest of us.

Details of the week, with photos )

There were a (very) few (very) minor niggles with the week:

  • It's a bit of a shame that there was no big communal meal (for the grownups, rather than for the kids and parents) as there has been in some previous years. The kitchens were a decent size, and we could have easily managed that.
  • We missed the previous holiday at Plas Glansevin, so we also missed the accompanying pre-holiday discussion about local amenities. We really need a wiki for these things. I'll look at setting one up for next year.
  • I've realised that I rather miss the communal activities that have been organised in previous years, such as Steve Shipway's treasure hunts or Pete and Kav's Great Egg Races. I hereby commit myself to organising at least one thing along these lines for the next holiday.
nmg: (toddler garklet)

The [livejournal.com profile] garklet has managed to outdo himself this morning by taking a small swig from [livejournal.com profile] ias's bottle of Chanel No.19. Not the eau de toilette (which is relatively cheap at ~£60/100ml) nor the eau de parfum (which is slightly more expensive at about ~£80/100ml), but the little 7.5ml bottle of the parfum, which works out at a staggering £850/100ml. We don't think that he managed to drink much, since it's quite bitter - maybe 0.1ml, which is still enough to make his breath reek of No.19 - but he then managed to tip half the bottle over the dressing table.

My hands now smell of nothing but No.19 (which is pleasant, but I'd rather smell it on [livejournal.com profile] ias), and the bedroom is rather over fragranced.

On the plus side, I now know what to get [livejournal.com profile] ias for Christmas...

nmg: (Default)

It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegonethe Gark household.

Actually, that's a lie. Got back from Luxembourg on Tuesday night, fortunately with my luggage this time (made sure that I was checked in for both legs, and that my luggage was marked as priority). Also, to those folk who suggested that I carry everything as hand luggage, I checked the maximum size for carry-on on the LUX->CDG leg, and it was barely large enough for my not-overly-big laptop bag.

As it turns out, losing my luggage was a blessing in disguise. My case turned up while I was at Monday's meeting, so I had clean clothes for Tuesday. Lux Air gave me a nifty overnight bag with such practised ease that I suspect that lost luggage at CDG is commonplace. The bag had pretty much everything you'd need if you'd lost your luggage: shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shaving cream, deodorant, eau de toilette, razor, hairbrush, cotton buds, cotton wool pads, sanitary towels, spare socks, a t-shirt, laundry powder and an LED keyring. My soon-to-be-departed colleague gave me a bit of a ribbing, and pointed out that he travels light with only carry-on, containing a fresh shirt and clean underwear, the necessary toiletries, and his laptop. Of course, he wasn't laughing quite as heartily when he managed to throw a glass of red wine down his only trousers the night before the formal review. Fortunately, due to my foresight in losing my luggage, I had a convenient sachet of laundry powder...

Realised too late that the terminal at CDG that I like is 2F, not 2E (which is hateful), and that the SOU->CDG flights now go into 2E. I may need to rethink my preferred flights from Southampton, especially since the catering in 2E is abysmal (€3 for a 250ml bottle of water and €6,70 for a sandwich is extortionate, even by airport prices).

Wednesday night was out for drinkies and a rather good Keralan curry with [livejournal.com profile] elseware and ex-workmate Jon., who now lives in Bristol. Thursday night saw a flying visit from Neil (who we're seeing quite regularly now that he works in ECS, even if he still lives in Edinburgh), who left us a rather nice-looking bottle of a 14yo single malt from Scapa - I never knew that Scapa had a distillery.

Friday was rather more sombre; Adam Rutherford, one of our first year computer science undergraduates, died suddenly this week, and I attended the funeral with my course leader hat on. Good turn-out from the students which rather overwhelmed his family, who I think were worried that he didn't have any friends at uni (he did - lots of them). Very touching eulogy from his elder sister Claire, also a student at Southampton, and a message from the SOWN folk.

Today was supposed to be productive, but the [livejournal.com profile] garklet is down with a stomach bug. Still cheery, except for the bit when he toddled into the kitchen and threw up over my shoes. Hopefully he'll be able to keep some food down today, but it looks likely that we'll have to juggle childcare on Monday rather than send him into the nursery.

Profile

nmg: (Default)
Nick Gibbins

August 2010

S M T W T F S
12 34567
891011121314
15 16 17 18192021
2223 2425262728
2930 31    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 24th, 2017 01:11 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios